Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lincoln Applies a Tourniquet

1956 Continental Mark II (Lincoln Motor Company)

You may recall that last week, I was the teensiest bit annoyed with the folks at Lincoln Motor Company. It seems like it was something about their new Lincoln Motor Co. Tumblr Page and their utter inability to caption a photograph correctly and the devastating message it sent to the dwindling number of folks to whom they are still relevant. Yes, it's coming back to me now.

I chose a snappy, upbeat headline, calling the piece "Every Day, Lincoln Plunges a Knife into My Heart." Dramatic, yes- but conventional social networking had failed and I was really starting to feel bad for them, You see, I was Lincoln when Lincoln wasn't cool. Well, technically, Lincoln still isn't actually cool but you get the idea.

The story got some decent volume behind it and then the nice folks over at Hemmings Motor News featured it on Saturday, so it got a whole rush of energy. I got notes and comments from lots of folks who shared my frustration, although I never heard a peep out of Lincoln directly.

I checked the site on a whim yesterday and  noticed that four of the five of the captions are now corrected (I had thoughtfully posted the correct captions in the original rant. You're welcome, Lincoln.) The 1948 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet, the 1953 Lincoln Capri, the 1956 Continental Mark II and the 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe are all right as rain and the ghost of Edsel Ford is smiling down upon Dearborn.

1933 Lincoln KA Convertible Roadster (Lincoln Motor Co)

All is not perfect, of course- the 1933 KA Convertible Roadster is still identified as the cheaper Roadster, and the 1929 Le Baron Aero Phaeton is missing its Aero, but four out of five were corrected and all in all I give them an A- for effort. We do want them to succeed after all, and this was certainly a welcome gesture. Kudos to Lincoln for a worthwhile effort.

Now bring us an updated 1961 Lincoln Continental.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Every Day, Lincoln Plunges a Knife Into My Heart

1956 Continental Mark II at LA Press Day

Every day, the newly renamed Lincoln Motor Company plunges a knife into my heart. 

You see, I'm one of the few life long Lincoln devotees that have owned, restored, showed, and driven the brand (and still do) and I still love the Lincoln nameplate despite its descent into being the generic equivalent of luxury marques- a car with no unique models, no dealer network, and only minimal signs of brain activity- just enough to keep us from pulling the plug as each day our hopes for a recovery grow dimmer.

One such glimmer of hope was at Press Days for the Los Angeles Auto Show, when on Wednesday the Lincoln display was decked out in iconic brilliance- stunning examples of Lincoln excellence from 1929 to 1961 and crowned by the presence of a Continental Mark II, which was the mid-fifties ubercar that immediately became the darling of the rich and famous. 

Not to be content with any garden variety hand assembled Mark II, the car on display was special ordered by none other than Miss Elizabeth Taylor for her husband, showman Mike Todd, in a rich violet blue. It and the other cars on the floor looked resplendent and were not only were the talk of the show, but actually offered us hope that Lincoln had recognized at least some of the greatness in their heritage and saw the promise of a revitalized brand. 

Except that they're doing such a damned lousy job of it. At the Auto Show, they announced a new Tumblr site called "Lincoln Now," in which they post pictures of the glory of Lincoln. Great idea, but three of the first four were misidentified. Then the site transferred to a new name, Lincoln Motor Co, but the old site remained alive, as a blank page, with a prompt to enter a password and no redirect or even a link to the new url for over a week. 

Now, thankfully, it at least redirects so that the handful of us who still care about the brand can at least find it, but every time I visit I wince in terror to see what the latest misidentification will be. So far, of eleven photos captioned with year and model, five of them are wrong. Were we talking about a twelve year old in Great Falls, Montana, I'd be the first to say cut him some slack. But this is the all new "We Get It" Lincoln Motor Company, and the ad agency is jointly owned by Lincoln. 

So really guys, how can this be? You can't even caption your own goddamned photos? I can send you a list of twelve year olds (omitting the one in Great Falls, of course) that can do a more professional job. Seriously, it's time to fire people. You're on the verge of being nothing more than a drinking game.

And Lincoln Motor Company, to prove my magnanimous desire to help you get it, allow me to help you correct your captions (all images via Lincoln Motor Co.Tumblr:)

1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe

This is a 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe which Lincoln identifies as a 1940. The push button doors, lower body bright molding, fender script, parking lamps atop the fenders, Lincoln wheel covers and split grille with a defining chrome bead are all signatures of the 1941 Lincoln Continental. It can be no other. 

1956 Continental  Mark II

Here is the shining moment of the brand's history- the handmade, incomparable 1956 Continental Mark II. From 1956 through 1958, Continental was a separate registered make, so that it is NEVER appropriate to refer to this car as a Lincoln Continental. NEVER. Did you hear me, Lincoln?

1953 Lincoln Capri Convertible

Hispters are dancing in front of a 1953 Lincoln Capri convertible. It is not a Lincoln Continental Capri. In fact, there are no Continentals between 1949 and 1955. Lincoln Capri. Got it?

1933 Lincoln KA Convertible Roadster

 A slightly more minor transgression- this 1933 Lincoln KA wears an attractive body style called a Convertible Roadster, which features roll up windows and Landau Irons (Those are the shiny silver things on the sides of the top.) This differentiates it from the Roadster, which has side curtains and no Landau Irons. I don't expect them to remember this, I expect them to look it up in a damn book before posting.

1948 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet

And here we are back to Lincoln 101. Here is the iconic 1948 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet. It's a late production model and represents one of the last ones ever assembled of this lovely style. It is not a "Lincoln Cabriolet Tudor." Find the person that wrote that and fire them- TODAY. It's unacceptable. 

Guys, I get that the task you are immersed in is daunting. You have a wonderful old brand that hasn't had a new product worth the powder it would take to blow it to hell for 10 years now. You've just discontinued the most successful and profitable car in your history and you've got nothing left but some rebadged Fords sitting  in the darkest corner of a Ford dealer's showroom. 

But you've done it before, with the brilliant and timeless 1961 Lincoln Continental, and you can do it again. And in the meantime, you owe it to the dwindling numbers of us who still care about you to at least act like you know who you are and stop plunging the knives into our hearts on a daily basis. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Corvair Mania at Great Western Fan Belt Toss

It's been a while since I treated you to a full fledged photo essay, so I feel like I owe you one. Fortunately, the Southern California CORSA Club were in town last week for their awesome Great Western Fan Belt Toss, and considering my fondness for the air cooled wonder from Willow Run I thought I would go down and snap a few pictures.

Certainly no shortage of Corvairs at this event, either. Plenty of first year 1960s including mid-year coupes, a ton of first generation convertibles and several Spyders, a large selection of second generation 'Vairs as well, and an Evening Orchid '65 Monza (it's not a Corvair show without one.)

Not to be missed were an awesome selection of Corvair trucks, including pickups, Corvans, and Greenbriers. In the department of truly seldom seen were three lightweight aluminum Ultra Van Motorhomes, featuring Corvair running gear. One of the 22' RVs featured an intact original interior and was open for touring.

All in all a great day in Palm Springs- enjoy the photos!